Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Edukators (Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei)

By a strange coincidence the last five films we have watched together have all been about kidnappings, and V and I agreed that this one was by far the best of the bunch.

When Spain's superjuez Baltasar Garzón was slowly uncovering details of the dirty war waged by the then socialist government's Interior Minister, his home was broken into twice. What sinister message do you imagine the intruders left in his bed to unsettle the investigating judge? A severed horse's head? No, a banana skin. In such matters Spain was ever the poor cousin of Italy.

Over in Germany it seems that an unexpected rearrangement of chattels is sufficient to put the willies up the complacently wealthy. The Edukators are a pair of young friends that spend their evenings breaking into Berlin villas while their owners are holidaying elswhere and instead of simply lifting the contents, they artfully re-compose them, leaving behind a note serving the absentees with the prediction that their days of plenty "are numbered".

Rather than fighting the capitalist dictatorship, their goal is to teach it a lesson. Having just watched Sympathy for Mr Vengeance I was thoroughly prepared for this movie to shift the educative process into reverse. An unpleasant sort of conclusion seemed on the cards from the moment Jule, a waitress with a genuine personal gripe against a Mercedes-owner joins the duo. "Isn't it annoying when you tell someone your best-kept secret and suddenly they are more intensely enthusiastic about it than you have ever been?" said V.

Instead, Hans Weingarnter slows the pace and gives us a likeable conclusion that is itself a lesson in resilient idealism, the growth of love and of friendship retained. Should today's youth give up simply because their parents did, the movie first asks us, then answers in the negative without any sense of copping out.

It's all been filmed with a hand-held digital camera in available light. A very good movie.

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